Auto Glass is tough stuff. Of course, it has to be… just think what it is expected to do.
The obvious thing is to keep the wind and weather out of the car when the car is parked, as well as while you are driving.
When the car isn’t moving, the windshield and side windows are pretty much like the windows in your house. They keep the weather out, and at the same time protect the interior of the car from damaging effects of the sun’s ultra violet rays. The sun can cause the colors of the car’s interior to fade before their time. The glass in the car usually has a UV coating to prevent this.
There is usually enough glass exposed to the sun that a green house effect can occur inside the car. Especially in the summertime, when the sun is so high here in Bellevue, we notice the hot blast of air when we open the car door. The heat can become intense enough to damage the contents of the car, beyond the discomfort when we get in.
The only good ways to avoid the greenhouse heat are to park the car in the shade, leave the windows partially open to allow some of the heat to escape, or to tint the windows to prevent the greenhouse effect from starting. Leaving the windows open is the simplest solution, but that may allow the entry of vermin, weather, or even thieves. Tinting is a good option, but may interfere with the driver’s vision in low light conditions.
The real genius of Automotive glass is the way it protects the occupants when the car is in motion. The car moves through the air at speeds greater than the strongest storm, and it may be expected to do so through the strongest storm! This means that the windshield, and the other glass, will have to endure whatever the weather can throw at it; rain, snow, hail, or ice! This doesn’t even begin to consider what the road can throw!
Even the shiniest and newest cars have trouble making it through a Pacific Northwest winter without a few “Seattle Stars”. These little rock chips are a cost that motorists will have to pay as long WDOT continues to use gravel as a winter traction aid. Despite the appearance of Seattle Stars on windshields, the gravel does far less damage to vehicles than more corrosive options.
If you have ever been riding in a vehicle when the windshield is “kissed” hard enough for a Star to be left, you can begin to appreciate the phenomenal strength of a car’s windshield. The actual gravel strike can sound like a large caliber handgun being discharged, but the damage is usually just the familiar cute little star.
Just because the star is cute and small, don’t be fooled into thinking that the windshield has just minor damage. If left alone, the chip or star can suddenly spread into a crack. The star is usually a simple fix for a qualified glass shop, and if it is done in time further damage is avoided.
It may be tempting to continue driving even after a crack has spread across the windshield. The windshield appears to be intact, and the crack may be away from sight lines, but the damage is still dangerous. The glued-in windshield is an important part of the car’s structure, and if it is damaged by a crack, the vehicle occupants will be endangered in a possible roll-over accident.
Windshield replacement is another service of a qualified glass shop, and can usually be taken care of in a couple hours.
If you have any questions about automotive glass, or any of your residential or commercial glass needs, be sure to contact Associated Glass today!